20 Years Later, ‘American Pie’ Characters Leave a Bitter Aftertaste

Twenty years after its release, American Pie is still regarded as a great comedy. The film – which became a sleeper hit in 1999 and spawned a franchise that somehow has seven sequels – follows four teenage boys as they make a sex pact in an attempt to lose their virginity before graduating high school. Except for postmodern teen sex comedies like Superbad, American Pie is arguably the last great ultra-raunchy teen sex comedy – or so we thought.

While the movie is undoubtedly still funny in certain respects and surprisingly heartfelt in others, it turns out that it’s also super outdated and problematic in the way that it depicts the treatment of women and teen sex. It’s probably not fair to call American Pie sexist, but it certainly displays misogynistic tendencies. In essence, it’s the type of movie that would never get made today. Especially in retrospect, most of the characters in the film are bad people who make terrible decisions. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of American Pie, let’s look back on how its characters are (mostly) awful people.

Cover Photo: Universal Pictures

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The funny thing about American Pie is that, despite being a cultural touchstone of the late ’90s and supposedly “launching” the careers of its cast, it simultaneously pigeonholed nearly every single one of them. Biggs will always be known as the guy who fucked the pie, Scott will always be associated with playing the asshole, and even Levy was typecast as the awkward, square dad character.

It’s a problematic movie by today’s standards, especially in terms of its depiction of women and the message that it sends to younger viewers. At the same time, American Pie is also slightly prophetic in the way that the film represents the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for the teen sex comedy. It’s as dated as ever, and it may not be a good movie, but it still manages to be a funny coming-of-age story in the most literal sense.

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